triathlon in and around the Seine, a “test event” with challenges for France

2023-08-16 13:30:21

One year before the Paris Olympics, the world triathlon is organizing its “test event” from August 17 to 20 in and around the Seine. Several French people will want to take their bearings and snatch an Olympic qualification while the quality of the river water, “satisfactory”, will be scrutinized.

Published on: 08/16/2023 – 15:30Modified on: 08/16/2023 – 15:54

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After 1,500 m of swimming between the Alexandre III bridge and the Alma bridge, the triathletes will compete over 40 km by bike then 10 km of running during which they will go up the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in particular.

On this course, identical to that of the Games next year, Léo Bergère, Pierre Le Corre and Dorian Coninx are as many chances of a podium for the French triathlon, they who had achieved the triple last year at the European Championships.

For French triathletes, a podium this week in Paris will mean direct qualification for the Games, according to the demanding selection procedures defined by the French Federation due to the density of the French team.

“We know that to medal at the Games, you have to be on the podium at the test event. You have to be able to have this level of performance,” said Benjamin Maze, national technical director of the FFTri.

Great blue density

If there will be only three to represent France in the Olympic event in 2024, they will be four to line up at the start of the “test event” on Friday in the men’s category. After a stress fracture in May, Vincent Luis will return to competition in Paris.

At “100% in swimming and cycling”, the veteran of this team (34 years old) is still far from his best level in running and has little hope of directly snagging a ticket for the Games. He will rather aim for a qualification by his performances at the beginning of next year.

“We are all quite close and aware that the three who will go (to the Games) will be the three biggest chances of medals”, admitted Luis.

The Alexandre III bridge and the Invalides in Paris on August 16, 2023 © Bertrand GUAY / AFP

“It’s also something that pulls us up,” said Dorian Coninx.

On the women’s side, Cassandre Beaugrand, Léonie Périault and French triathlon hopeful Emma Lombardi (21) will take part in the pre-Olympic event on Thursday and will also fight for the top places.

“It’s very important to take your bearings on the Olympic course”, explained Léonie Périault who hopes to “liberate” herself by winning a place for the Games.

The density of the Blues in both women and men promises for Sunday’s mixed relay, where, the day after the para triathlon events, the French will be led by Cassandre Beaugrand, Emma Lombardi, Léo Bergère and Dorian Coninx.

“It’s a format that I love, I feel like I’m transcending myself even more for my friends,” said Cassandre Beaugrand, bronze medalist in the mixed relay at the Tokyo Games two years ago.

But if they are among the favorites individually and in the relay, the French will not be alone: ​​only four of the 40 best triathletes in the world will be missing this week in Paris, where the two Tokyo Olympic champions, the Norwegian Kristian Blummenfelt and the Bermudian Flora Duffy, will be at the start at the Alexandre III bridge.

Satisfactory water quality

Before throwing themselves into the Seine, everyone will scrutinize the quality of the water. At the beginning of August, the open water swimming events which were to be held there were canceled due to pollution of the river.

The quality of the water has since returned to a “satisfactory threshold”, explained the town hall of Paris on Wednesday, specifying that the level of Escherichia coli bacteria had fallen below the maximum regulatory threshold (1000 CFU per 100 ml).

The mascot of the Paris Olympic Games on August 16, 2023 © Bertrand GUAY / AFP

However, the water quality will remain under surveillance during the four days of competition with daily laboratory analyzes and instant measurement tools.

As for Paris 2024, Brigitte Légaré reaffirmed that Cojo officials had no doubts: “Plan B will be the Seine”, declared the head of competitions for the Olympic Games in Paris.

The Cojo, she explained, is counting on the commissioning of the Austerlitz basin, which will store rainwater, so that the whole world can see athletes swimming in the Seine, even in the event of bad weather.

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